Recollections of Travel – Chicago 1
The first time I traveled to Chicago I remember spotting the city abruptly rising up from the surface of the earth like a majestic metropolis among white clouds stationary in the sky. As I looked down, I was in awe of the biggest city I seen to date. After landing I could not wait to look around before I had to go to work the next day on Michigan Ave.
I was born in the country and became a woman in a tiny town. I had traveled, but Chicago seemed more sophisticated than any city I had experienced thus far. I was so glad that I had brought my camera, something I had never done on a business trip. With my new Canon AE 1 in hand, I stopped worrying about looking like a tourist and started taking pictures of the tall buildings, beautiful parks and the Chicago River running through the city. Before long I felt so comfortable I imagined being a reporter for the Tribune or Sun-Times and by the time I returned to my hotel not only my feet hurt, but also my neck from looking up at the buildings reaching for the sky. What a great day, but alas I needed to prepare for work the next few days.
Due to my company’s large presence in the area, over the next couple of years, I traveled to Chicago and its suburbs many times and it quickly became my favorite city. I still feel this way even after spending time in New York City and several European cities. Not even the fact that I had zero photographs from that momentous first trip dimmed my enthusiasm. You see, this was during the time when cameras were loaded with film and I had failed to properly engage said film in my fancy new camera so the roll that should have contained 36 newspaper worthy photos was completely blank! I learned to properly load the film and thereafter saved my fancy camera for vacations.
My husband had not been to Chicago and I wanted him to experience the city, so we planned for him to accompany me on one of my trips. Having always flown into O’Hare or Midway, I was a little apprehensive about driving my pretty red sports car in the city, but I didn’t really give it a lot of thought until IT happened.
After five hours or so on the road, discussing our plans and enjoying the trip we were in the heart of the city heading to my favorite hotel, The Knickerbocker. It was a beautiful summer day and I felt lucky we could drive leisurely with the windows down. I was enjoying Raymond’s reaction to the city I had grown to love when someone loudly blew their horn behind us.
At the next stoplight an apparently full can of Sprite came hurtling through the open window and hit my sweet, innocent husband on the side of his face and the liquid spilled over him and sprayed the car. He looked at me incredulously and I was immediately overcome with guilt and fear. Fear is understandable as the car chased us for a couple of blocks with the driver yelling obscenities, right? But, why did I feel responsible for this terrible assault? IT happened because when the horn blew behind us I had immediately given a reflexive response. I had flipped the driver the bird.
I now had a serious choice to make. I could allow Raymond to think the people of Chicago were jerks (and this one clearly was) and that he could anticipate being accosted on every corner. Or, I could confess and let him know his wife had precipitated the attack. I chose the latter.
The trip was only beginning.